Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
Henry Peterson June 13, 1893 at Ridge Spring Accident train
Charly Washington boy November 22, 1891 at the house of George Washington near Bauknights ferry Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Balus Harrison November 14, 1893 at Edgefield CH Accident cart
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Hugh Wetherford June 25, 1895 at Edgefield CH Accident train
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Edward Horton August 7, 1879 near Wesley Barrs[?] Accident sunstroke
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Nancy Weaver December 20, 1893 at Edgefield Court House Accident
Lewis negro man March 20, 1846 at & in the Revd Mr. Brooks Plantation Accident
Cap Bryan February 25, 1893 at the plantation of Mrs Doziers Accident
infant infant January 24, 1893 at Clintonwards Accident
Lewis Glanton September 8, 1846 near the church of Antioch Accident horse
Richard Mims August 1, 1899 at the plantation of Mrs. H. Carter Accident
Hugh Duffey Sr. August 26, 1855 at Bethany Church Accident horse
George Washington Crowder October 19, 1866 at Grannetville Accident
Curry slave March 17, 1856 at Mrs Elizabeth Middletons Plantation Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Bluford Abney November 14, 1894 at M.A. Colemans plantation Natural Causes
Joel W. Warren November 9, 1894 at Joseph Mirren[?] House Natural Causes
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
James Leppard February 13, 1893 at F. M. Leppards Natural Causes
J. B. Whittle November 28, 1894 at Mrs Whittles Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Mid[?] Griffin February 2, 1895 at the Govelace[?] Place Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Frank Milton child January 26, 1894 at Sanders Loricks Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Rebeca Eidson May 29, 1861 at the Residence of William Eidson Natural Causes
Sallie Busch August 21, 1892 at Lewis Beans plantation Natural Causes
Peyton Bird colored September 29, 1869 at Edgefield CH Natural Causes
B. J. Mims January 20, 1885 at the Residence of Capt B J Mims Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Doublin male slave, boy April 5, 1857 at the Residence of Mrs Delila Philips Natural Causes
Rhoda female slave July 4, 1857 at Dorn's[?] Mill Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Patrick Burns[?] November 4, 1858 at the residence of Richard Campbell Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes

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